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New super plane to fly from Europe to Australia in 4 hours

By Stephen Morgan     Dec 18, 2014 in Lifestyle
A new superplane, which can get you anywhere in the world in four hours, may get its first flight in only five years from now. It is planned to use its rockets for commercial airline flights, as well as space travel.
Powered by the revolutionary new engine, called Sabre (Synergetic Air-Breathing Rocket Engine), it can make aircraft travel at five times the speed of sound. Unlike conventional planes, which are weighed down by the need to carry liquid oxygen, its rockets are "air-breathing," meaning that it uses a system of pipes filled with helium, which facilitates the more rapid transfer of oxygen needed to accelerate the aircraft.
The revolutionary new Sabre engine
The revolutionary new Sabre engine
Reaction Engines
The Independent says that at the root of the successful design is "the special heat exchanger that cools air incredibly quickly — taking it from 1,000 degrees Celsius to minus 150 degrees in one hundredth of a second. That helps it get around the issues that have so far held jet engines back to a maximum of about 2.5 times the speed of sound. The new engine will allow it to get up to twice that speed."
How the new Sabre engine works
How the new Sabre engine works
Reaction Engines
The Sabre engines could be fitted to existing aircraft in order for them to reach supersonic speeds. Travelling at 3,500 mph, compared to 1,900 mph for current aircraft, it could whisk passengers around the globe in a few hours. However, the company also has a special passenger version under construction, called Lapcat A2, with the capacity to carry 300 travellers.
According to Mail Oline, a spacecraft version, called Skylon, would be fitted with the new rockets and could reach orbit in 15 minutes where it could then change to ordinary space rocket mode. Once there, it will be able to circle the Earth for 36 hours. Not only would it be possible to transport passengers, it could also carry a payload of 15 tonnes, making it practical for transporting satellites. Because of its horizontal take-off, using the new Skylon could reduce the cost of space launches by a staggering 95 percent.
The new aircraft are the brainchild of British firm, Reaction Engines and have already notched up 100 successful test runs. Earlier this year, the European Space Agency's carried out a €1m ($1,250m) feasibility study into the rocket as part of its "New European Launch Service." The technical reports were so positive that the company plans to have the first flight in just four years. The UK government is so impressed that it is investing £60 million ($95m) to help what it calls a "high priority project."
The Mail quotes an interview with Alan Bond, founder of Reaction Engines, in the International Business Times who told them "Rockets are stuck in a rut. The weight problem means it costs a great deal of money to launch even the smallest satellite. The basic problem is that when you suck air into an engine at high speed it instantly heats up to 1,000C - which is unmanageably hot. The challenge was to cool it back down to 140C in just a hundredth of a second - the time it takes to pass through the engine." The Sabre engines, he continued "would allow us to launch satellites far more cheaply, to build space stations or to create orbiting solar arrays that would beam power to earth. We could even construct spaceships for missions to other planets."
More about Plane, Skylon, Rocket, Space, European space agency
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